My teen and I don’t often see eye to eye. First, I suppose she would argue that it is hard to see eye to eye with someone like me who has ten heads. At first, I didn’t feel so bad about her belief that I have ten heads. I mean ten is better than one right? Ten heads would give me ten brains right? Which means I should be a lot smarter than her. But for some reason when I am talking with her I often don’t feel smarter. Or at least I don’t feel like she thinks I have any brains whatsoever. So having ten heads must not be a good thing. If I was smarter than I am I probably would have known that before now.
Second, she is – being a young, hip (is this current word?) person – much more aware of things right? She knows what is going on in the world. She watches valuable TV like Law & Order, Scrubs and Baby Daddy, surfs reliable news sources like Yahoo News, and is way more computer savvy – at least when it comes to Instagram and all things social media - than I. Thus, her opinion should be very valuable and mine should be – well if you are a parent of a teen you know – mud.
But this week as she was trying to fill me in on something regarding pop culture and fashion – specifically what a “frat boy” was - we stumbled upon something we both felt strongly about - internet pornography.
Who knew right? Who knew that we could have the same soap box, especially regarding the internet which teens think is the Holy Grail and those of us raising teens often view as a necessary evil.
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But I digress, back to what a “frat boy” is. Apparently, this a young – often buff – man who is dressed in the requisite pocket t-shirt, sunglasses, Rainbow flip-flops and Chubbies shorts. I of course had no clue what Chubbie shorts were - and don’t even mention it if you are older than forty and know because that will just make me feel even more stupid and out of touch – so my teen reached for my smartphone to search for a picture and show me. But she hesitated, sharing that with a name like Chubbie in an internet search something more sinister might pop up on her search. Alas, I knew exactly her concern. Years ago I had searched for the innocent key word “girls’ dresses” and I was introduced to all myriad of women definitely not wearing girls dresses.
So the conversation digressed quickly from frat boy fashion to internet searches.
“Just this week,” I told her excitedly, “the Brits passed a law further shielding their youth from the smut out there. Now, the owner of the internet service – such as the homeowner with internet – must ‘Opt In’ with their internet service provider if they want to receive pornographic images over the net. Otherwise, when you search or try to access pornography you will not be able to because it is blocked at the internet service provider level. Automatically!"
Amazingly, she turned to me and said, “Oh! I love that! I want that! I hate when I search something and get stuff like naked people!”
Who said Mom didn’t know a good thing when she saw it. Who said that teens know nothing and just want as much freedom on the net and on TV as possible? Get busy Congress. Surely this is something that most of America can agree on.